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Contribution to Book
Educational Technology and the “New Language of Learning”: Lineage and Limitations
The Politics of Education and Technology: Conflicts, Controversies, and Connections (2013)
  • Norm Friesen, Thompson Rivers University
Abstract
Even the most rudimentary definitions of the term "technology" indicate that its meaning extends far beyond artifacts and devices to include processes, methods, means, and applied knowledge. It is therefore surprising how rarely instructional theories, methods, and applications—for example, learning theories, learning designs, or learning environments—are considered specifically as technologies in the relevant literature. This chapter focuses on the instrumental nature of the concepts of "learning" and "learning theory" as used in the field of education and technology—which Gert Biesta (2006) and others have characterized as being manifest in a "new language of learning." This refers to a vocabulary or discourse that, for example, characterizes "teaching [as the] 'facilitation of learning' [and], education [as the] 'provision of learning opportunties'" (Haugsbakk & Nordkvelle, 2007, p.2). The chapter argues that this vocabulary represents a particular technologization or instrumentalization of education, a process that makes educational practices and priorities appear germane to, or even incomplete without, technological rationalization and reshaping. This chapter traces how this vocabulary casts learning as a natural and universal process, and quite consistently accompanies the promotion of a range of technological artifacts in education. Running from the introduction of "teaching machines" through to current visions of school reform, this theoretical lexicon will be shown to efface its cultural and ideological contingency through a quasiscientific "neutrality" and a biologically based universality, and to limit the possibility for discourse and practice within the field of education and technology.
Publication Date
2013
Editor
Neil Selwyn and Keri Facer
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN
9781137031976
Citation Information
Norm Friesen. "Educational Technology and the “New Language of Learning”: Lineage and Limitations" New YorkThe Politics of Education and Technology: Conflicts, Controversies, and Connections (2013) p. 21 - 38
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/norman_friesen/12/